Warning: this page contains images and discussion of human remains

MOLA is collaborating with partners in Berlin on a pioneering project that will investigate the medieval population of Berlin through their skeletal remains. The population will then be compared with contemporary collections from London.

This study is the first to compare medieval populations across Europe and assess how their lives compared.

We hope that the comparison will provide a truly intra-European perspective on matters such as diet, life style, health care, life expectancy and disease. Furthermore we aim to be able to detect traces of Europe-wide phenomena, such as the impact of failed harvests, and moreover look at how the different medieval populations managed these problems.

The skeletal collection from Berlin will be examined both osteologically (the bones) and spatially (the position of the bones and the burials) to examine the arrangement and use of cemeteries over time and to see how an individual’s status, health and age is reflected in the position and type of burial. This will then be compared with analysis completed on major London cemetery sites, particularly that of St. Mary’s Spitalfields; the largest cemetery site ever excavated in London.

This exciting project is a collaboration between the Landesdenkmalamt Berlin, Humboldt- Universität zu Berlin, Freie Universität Berlin and the University of West Florida, and will make use of MOLA’s Osteological and GIS expertise.

Osteology International Research Medieval Excavation Post-Excavation Analysis